CDIB Meaning vs. DNA vs. Enrollment | CDIB Card Info | Native American

CDIB Meaning vs. DNA vs. Enrollment | CDIB Card Info | Native American

You may think you have Native American heritage, but there is a lot more to it than simply the stories about a distant ancestor that have been passed down through your family members.

The tribal enrollment process is a long journey.

And when it comes to researching your genealogy, you’ll likely stumble upon a lot of unfamiliar terms that may cause some confusion in your research process.

Thankfully, you have access to more information than ever before through the resources available online. Here, we will discuss the key differences between DNA test results, a CDIB card, and Tribal Enrollment.

The Purpose of DNA Test Results in Your Family History Search 

DNA test results are not enough on their own to qualify someone as belonging to a specific tribe. However, a DNA test is a good place to start to see if attempting to enroll in a tribe is worthwhile for you.

Each different American Indian tribe has its own set of specific eligibility requirements for tribal enrollment. You cannot simply state that you are a descendant of such-and-such, who was a member of that tribe. You will often have to prove that your ancestor was indeed a member of that tribe, and you will also have to prove your relation to that ancestor.

This is where a DNA test comes in: it can help you establish a firm connection to someone in the tribe. There are several DNA testing services available online, such as 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry.com. But remember DNA testing and confirming your relation to a tribe member is not enough to claim your belonging in a tribe, as you will have to meet the tribe’s other specific eligibility requirements.

Related InfoWhat You Should Know About DNA Testing for Family History Research

Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB)

CDIB cards are issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It lists an individual’s blood degree by tribe and contains information about their birth date and the last four digits of their social security number. CDIB cards are signed by a BIA representative.

However, the BIA does not oversee the tribal enrollment process for any individual tribe. Therefore, obtaining a CDIB card does not necessarily mean that a person is an established member of a federally recognized tribe. Since tribes take care of their own membership process, you will have to go through their specific tribal enrollment in order to become a recognized member.

The Tribal Enrollment Process

As we’ve discussed previously, each tribe has its own specific criteria when it comes to tribal membership eligibility. Tribes are sovereign nations, so there is no involvement from the federal government or any U.S. government agency when it comes to tribal enrollment. A tribe will typically list its enrollment criteria in its constitution, ordinances, or articles of incorporation.

While tribal membership criteria vary between tribes, most have a few common requirements. One is proof that you descend from someone listed one the tribe’s base roll, which is an original list of members. Another is tribal blood quantum.


Ancestry US


These two things can be proven through DNA testing and obtaining a CDIB card, but they are not enough to grant enrollment in a particular tribe. Other enrollment criteria can include continued contact with the tribe in question or a tribal residency.

Essentially, you cannot apply to enroll as a member of a tribe until after you have completed your genealogical research.

Then, you will have to speak directly with the tribe you want to enroll with about their specific process. There are 562 total American Indian and Alaska Native tribes that are federally recognized.

Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Paul G


62 Comments on “CDIB Meaning vs. DNA vs. Enrollment | CDIB Card Info | Native American”

  • Avatar for Lee Lockwood

    Lee Lockwood

    says:

    my children know their Indian grandma , aunts and uncles and dad and still can’t get enroll with their tribe.

  • Avatar for Allan

    Allan

    says:

    Ok maybe someone can answer my question. My daughter was digging on ancestry and found records of the National Archives where there is an enrollment card for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1896-1916 with my grandmothers name on my fathers side. Then another record that says Of the Creek and Seminole Tribes census saying age 1 and female with census card number 580.
    So what does this actually mean? The kicker is I am 62 and just now finding this out, and I have nothing but cousins alive on my dads side to question. Oh, I do plan on having a dna test done. Which is best to use?

  • Avatar for Sharon

    Sharon

    says:

    I know a man in South Central Texas, he said he was half Comanche and half Irish. The next year he decided he was 1/4 Comanche and 1/4 Irish – I asked what the 1/2 left was – no answer.

    • Avatar for Joann Alvarez

      Joann Alvarez

      says:

      My DNA shows I am 36 percent Native American . How do I find out what tribe I am from.

      • Avatar for Paul G

        Paul G

        says:

        Start here – newpowwows.www.powwows.com/am-i-native

        • Avatar for Jose r araujo

          Jose r araujo

          says:

          Mr. Paul, my name is Jose Rogelio Araujo Briones and my DNA shows that I am 54.7 % native, my Maternal Grandfather always told me that I had apache blood, I would like to know more, he is no longer alive and my aunts and uncle don’t know anything, on my fathers side family history is very limited, since my dad lost his parents by the age of 11 years of age, what can I do to find out more? Sorry to bother and thank you.

      • Avatar for Rose M Luera

        Rose M Luera

        says:

        My DNA shows I’m 66% Native American

    • Avatar for Kimberly Britt

      Kimberly Britt

      says:

      Can you send me info where to get dna tests and enrollment for cherokee tribe .iam comanche father’s side and cherokee mother’s side.

  • Avatar for jerry sloan

    jerry sloan

    says:

    I have family names on the daws final rolls does that mean I can apply for a cbid card and to be able to become a citizen to that tribe

  • Avatar for MA

    MA

    says:

    What is the best DNA test to take to determine my Native American percentage. What company?

  • Avatar for Melissa Ferrell

    Melissa Ferrell

    says:

    My mother is Cheyenne Indian from what she has told me all of my life my father is isish my mother told me to go to a powwow LONG LONG TIME AGO. SHES PASSED NOW GOD REST HER SOUL. BUT I WANT TO BE A PART IN. ANYWAY PISSIBLE THAT I MAPY BE ABLE TO BE I COME FROM A VERY POOR FAMILY I STILL HAVE VERY HARD TIMES SURVIVN THESE DAYS MY SELF. SO COULD SOME ONE ANYONE PLEASE DIRECT ME OR HELP ME I WANT TO BE AS CLOSE TO HER AS I POSSIBLY CAN UNTIL I SEE HER IN HEAVEN. THANK YOU SO MUCH N GOD BLESS MY NUMBER TO REACH ME IS 8503176455 MY NAME IS MELISSA FERELL I RESIDE IN WESTVILLE FLORIDA

  • Avatar for Tanya Jeter

    Tanya Jeter

    says:

    My DNA says I am 51% Native American how do I start my search into what tribe I am a descendant from?

    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G

      says:

      Start here – newpowwows.www.powwows.com/am-i-native

    • Avatar for Robert k Strawn

      Robert k Strawn

      says:

      I was just told by Ancestry Ancestry paper work I was only 30% but if you ever saw my pictures you’ll see way more then 30% and my skin is brown color but not dark until I get out under the sun and people stops me asking if I’m a native American and also say to me that I was the first Native American theyve ever seen and people at the pow wows stopping and asking me questions about Indians but all I can do is tell them I was adopted when I was 11 months old and nobody won’t tell me my real mother’s name.

      • Avatar for Robert k Strawn

        Robert k Strawn

        says:

        Also I was adopted March 1963 when I was 11 months old and I do not know what my name is or was before the parents that Adopted me and gave me the name that I’ve always gone by. Also since nobody knows or knew the hospital I was born at I’m not really sure if I was really born in Miami Florida. All I was told by the mother that adopted me that my Real Parents took me to the adoption home where they adopted me from back when I was three years old and I had my Adoption Papers until they was stolen March 8 2008 and even on those paper work it doesn’t and didn’t have or show what my Real Name was before I was Adopted March 1963 and was given the name I’ve only known.

  • Avatar for Ralph Sanchez

    Can you apply for a CDIB card after you get your DNA results, and what BIA would I seek? I’m in California and I’m pretty sure my bloods from Arizona ,WhiteMoutian area,thanks for any reply,

  • Avatar for Bob

    Bob

    says:

    I’ve various admixtures, African, European,Asian, but the Americas are the only admixture with Ancestry. Are the Americas my root?

    • Avatar for Jeannie Oliver

      . you should pray the higher spirit beyond our vision got you just believe Hare Krishna

  • Avatar for Juan jaramillo

    Juan jaramillo

    says:

    My results from DNA are I’m 65% native I would like to find out more about it what tribe ? How can I do that ?

  • Avatar for Ivalina Resiginia Passe

    I a am A descendent of A Native American Tribe Mohawk and Cherokee. I would Like to Enroll as A Native American Member

  • Avatar for Beverly Victorian

    Beverly Victorian

    says:

    Hi I got my dna back and i am 13% Native American and I’m trying to figure of which tribe my ancestors came from but I always new it was my roots but I need to and want too figure out who I am

  • Avatar for Osiris

    Osiris

    says:

    I just got back my dan results that say that I’m 51.3% native american. Can someone tell mw how to do more research on how to find out more which tribe it would. Finding out that I have that in my dna is really amazing…

    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G

      says:

      Yes, look here – newpowwows.www.powwows.com/am-i-native

  • Avatar for alisa f saenz

    alisa f saenz

    says:

    I just did my DNA test and I am 49% native american i just want to know more. About myself.

  • Avatar for Terri Allin

    Hi. I am so lost. Have no idea where to start searching my native American people..I have one line of Native American blood..I live in Central Texas. But don’t have any idea how much one line translates to. Or how to start looking for answers. Thanks you for your time. Terri Estes Allin

  • Avatar for Billy

    Billy

    says:

    I’m already a member l would like to know more about my dna witch I have done and I would like to know more about my Native side

  • Avatar for Annette Engel

    Annette Engel

    says:

    By the way, I am not after anything but knowledge and possibly finding relatives.

  • Avatar for Annette Engel

    Annette Engel

    says:

    I did my DNA and only found out that I am 26% Inuit or Native American. How do I find out what exact type like Cherokee or Sioux?

    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G

      says:

      Look at our article here to get started – newpowwows.www.powwows.com/am-i-native

  • Avatar for Darrin Turner

    Darrin Turner

    says:

    I recently took a DNA TEST,my results came in with myself being 9% Cherokee and 2% Sioux,my relatives in Huntsville,Al said my grandmother(Dovie Hammonds) on my father’s side was of Indian descent,but being a Afro American background and no records on the Dawes Roll,I’m having a hard time looking for records,can someone please point me in the right direction.

    • Avatar for Dee

      Dee

      says:

      Ha! What kind of DNA test did you take. They don’t give tribes.lol

      • Avatar for traci

        traci

        says:

        hahahahahaha! IKR?!

  • Avatar for Christi Braxton

    Christi Braxton

    says:

    My mother told me that my father is Apache. He was a minor at the time I was conceived. His father was full blooded Apache and his Mother was half Apache and half something else. No trible affiliation I suspect for a couple generations. I did meet my father and grandmother once, she looked Mexican to me and she looked a little ghetto with Two braids, a moo moo and chihuahuas in a trailer. How do I find out if I am Apache and which tribe to approach to learn more about my heritage?

    • Avatar for Michael McDivitt

      Michael McDivitt

      says:

      We read your comment and are trying to do the same. I’m curious if you have found out how to go about it.

    • Avatar for Lori jump

      Lori jump

      says:

      ghetto? really? that’s your attitude towards your grandmother? Sounds like you are looking for what your “heritage” can get you…

      • Avatar for Vicki

        Vicki

        says:

        Yeah I asked her the same thing. Ghetto. Ha she’s got issues.

        • Avatar for Dee

          Dee

          says:

          Her issues likely stem from being in a highly dysfunctional family. She clearly states that she only met her father and grandmother one time. They weren’t there for her, so how could she possibly feel for them in the same way that other people feel for relatives who have their backs?

      • Avatar for Dee

        Dee

        says:

        Think kindly for a moment. She only met her father and grandmother once. She may not have been very important to them. Not everyone lovingly and unconditionally embraces the children in their life. Some people, sadly, couldn’t care less.

        We need to stop demonizing adult victims of child abuse and neglect. She’s probably looking for her heritage from that painful need for belonging that only the neglected feel. After all, they weren’t in her life for reasons that had nothing to do with her because she was only a child.

    • Avatar for Rose

      Rose

      says:

      Wow… How disrespectful! To think this is how you describe your grandmother, with no respect and no shame. Ghetto with two braids a moo moo & chiwauwas in a trailer. You don’t sound like a very nice person. You want to find them…but do they want to find you??

      • Avatar for Vicki

        Vicki

        says:

        I agree. They probably don’t want to find her. To speak if her grandma like that.

        • Avatar for Dee

          Dee

          says:

          You’re coming at this woman from your own perspective. You probably have family that love you, and it’s difficult for you to imagine anything else. Sadly, not all families are loving. Please keep this in mind that you may be tender-hearted towards those who are not as lucky as you. Please keep this in mind that you may be even more grateful for your family than you are already.

          Obviously, she doesn’t have a typical grandmother if she only met her one time. What kind of grandmother doesn’t involve herself in her granddaughter’s life?

      • Avatar for Dee

        Dee

        says:

        You are clearly very lucky and blessed that you don’t know what it is like to have neglectful and absent family members. You chastise the woman above for not being very nice, then proceed to end your post with a mean comment. Why?

    • Avatar for Vicki

      Vicki

      says:

      Wearing braids is not ghetto. Excuse me. I have long dark hair and wear two pony tails. I’m not ghetto. Wearing braids is not ghetto. Geeze Louise. I have a Chihuahua. That doesn’t make anyone ghetto. Apparently you weren’t raised around any Native Americans or Hispanics. So what is ghetto to you is cool. What is not cool are little tiny Bobbed hair.

  • Avatar for Linfa Williams

    Searching for Nancy McClanahan Jackson.Cherokee midwife and Dr. Born November 1963.Grandmother or great grand mother was Penny. Married to Lem Jackson.

    • Avatar for lori

      lori

      says:

      I have been researching my heritage now for over 20 years and working with ancestery.com I have almost completed my research and ancestry. It is grueling and hard work time consuming and can be quite expensive. Check out ancestery.com it will help you hope you find what your looking for sincerely Lori Bartow

  • Avatar for Dorothy Kanter

    Dorothy Kanter

    says:

    Am trying to know about my Great Grandmother named Laura Lemaire West born in British Honduras around 1844. She migrated to USA in the late 1800’s and lived in Louisiana. She died in 1916. She was married to Samuel West who was a shrimp fisherman.

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